Tag Archives: Texas Legislature

SD6 Early Voting Begins Today

It’s early voting season–again! Well, at least in Senate District 6. All is quiet on the western front where I reside, but since so many opinions are available on this race, I’ll share mine soon enough. Still, it is very important for my friends, relatives, and even a few enemies that reside in SD6, to vote–and early! Kuff’s got a bit of an overview.

There was a flare-up yesterday over a Sylvia Garcia direct mail piece that called out Carol Alvarado’s METRO dealings, which PDiddie covers. Negative pieces are designed to tarnish competitors, and like most things, it’s all in the timing. It’s a lot harder to respond to a negative mail piece than to something on TV. And when the e-mail response to said piece has a couple of linked exhibits and is sent by a surrogate, well, it’s hard to be effective. Targeted voters have something tangible in their hands, in this case. Believe what you will, enjoy the negativity or not, in a race like this where there are too many similarities in issues stances, that’s what one does, beyond the door-to-door.

Beyond that, there have been a few opportunities for voters to attend forums, although I tend to like the community forums more than the “business” group forums. This is about the people, and not the contributors or people wanting a government contract. There are a few more opportunities this week and weekend, including one breakfast forum being hosted by the National Hispanic Professional Organization on Saturday.

Early Voting locations can be found here. With eight candidates on the ballot, there’s no excuse not to vote. Show up! It’ll make you feel good!

Texas HOPE Brings Agenda To Capitol

Just a reminder that starting at noon on Tuesday, January 8, Texas HOPE will be rallying at the South Steps of the Texas Capitol to remind Texas Legislators that they have a job to do, and part of that job is to give attention to those legislative items that they have highlighted.

“Latinos cannot continue to be ignored,” said Joey Cardenas, Executive Director of HOPE. “The future of Texas depends on the investments Texas puts into education, higher education, healthcare, and economic development for all Texans. Latino leaders throughout Texas are here to make their voices heard and bring attention to the failed policies of the past that are harming our kids and families.”

“The William C. Velasquez Institute is proud to stand with Texas Latino groups as we strive to change policy towards the betterment of our community. We ask the Legislature to work with us to make Texas the model all states follow in pro-immigrant policies, job creation, protecting our environment and educating all children,” said Patricia Gonzales, Senior Vice President WCVI.

“We call on the Governor and the Texas Legislature to make Latinos and their families a priority this legislative session. We call on Texas Government to invest on the Latino community’s present and future. Latinos need to be part of the solution and at the table not on the menu,” said Lydia Camarillo, SVREP Vice President.

The rally speakers list also includes a Houston voice, that of Fidencio Leija, Jr. of Latinos. Engaged. United. Voting. “The demographic changes, statewide and within our school districts, community colleges and universities, show us that if we want Texas’ star to shine brighter, Latinos must be a priority and a part of our future success as a state. The voting impact of Latinos is being felt nationally and we will no longer be seen as a “what if” community. Likewise, we must re-commit to ensure our Veterans are also beneficiaries of our state’s investment–in job creation, education, and health care. It is up to the legislature to take this seriously and enact policies that are good for all Texans, or else they will feel it at the ballot box.”

More details from the rally later.

HOPE Announces Lege Agenda

Hispanics Organized for Political Education (HOPE), the former “political arm” of Texas LULAC has re-organized and announced its legislative agenda for the 2013 Texas legislative session. It is quite comprehensive and divided into four parts.

Plan of Action
Latinos in Texas rank the following 7 issues in order of importance as the most relevant to our community’s agenda:
1. Education
2. Immigration/Racial Profiling
3. Political Access/Redistricting
4. Health Care
5. Business/Workforce
6. State Budgetary shortfall
7. Housing

Catching my eye because of its importance is their plank on education.

HOPE calls on the Texas 83rd Legislature to reinstatement school-funding using district property wealth for allocation to the 2009, level of funding that also took into account the annual increased enrollment of students.

Quality Education for English Language Learners (ELLs)
Reform and improve education by supporting reforms for effective secondary educational programs that serve English Language Learners including stronger accountability standards, curricular reforms at the secondary level, and addressing qualified teacher shortages through recruitment and retention programs. These reforms will result in closing the achievement gaps and reducing the drop-outs.

Drop-Outs

1. Reform and improve education by identifying a menu of best practices that are research based to address dropouts;
2. Introduce legislation that will require institutions to include in their graduation degree plan developed courses that focus on addressing potential dropout students and dropouts as part of their teacher certification programs;
3. Support legislation that will require institutions that grant teacher certification and who are also identified as an HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) to develop leadership programs for minorities in the field of education;
4. Support legislation that will create a statewide Blue Ribbon Committee made up of those institutions of higher learning that are identified as HIS to create  a Thinktank to be centered at Texas State University in San Marcos to research, monitor, and propose solutions to student dropouts;
5. Close all loopholes in the state’s leaver code system so that districts and campuses cannot arbitrarily mask student dropout numbers;
6. Monitor the extent to which students are being taken off of the recommended high school program and placed in the Minimum track that leaves them ineligible for state financial aid (i.e., TEXAS Grant) and automatic admissions under the Top Ten Percent Policy.

Equitable School Finance System

Invest in the economic future of Texas by supporting a return to formula-based funding that maintains a school finance system that allows schools to access equal revenue at a similar tax effort and properly funds special needs students.

Universal Access to Schools

Oppose all efforts to deny access to education and ensure access to parents and children living in Texas to educational services regardless of immigration status.

High-stakes Testing

Put a stop to the over-reliance on a single test-based indicator when assessing students. Continuing to focus on student test performance does not lead to a deeper or critical understanding of the curriculum. Rather, it obstructs students’ access to quality learning time and diverts precious dollars and resources (such as teacher and staff time) to testing companies. The misuses of testing are both unethical and unsupported by research, and also disproportionately impact poor, minority, and English learning students, as well as those student receiving special education services.

Holistic Assessment

Support the use of multiple measures such as classroom work, homework, extracurricular involvement, teacher evaluation, parent evaluation, and test scores as a means for holistically assessing a student’s overall academic performance. Oppose policies that solely rely of a single test score to determine grade promotion or retention decisions, deny students a high school diploma, deny access to college or financial aid, or contaminate students’ course GPAs.

College Readiness Preparation

1. Support students’ access and successful completion of the 4×4, college readiness curriculum;
2. Oppose efforts to track students into nonrigorous, vocational or career and technology courses;
3. Support rigorous career and technology education courses that are taught by certified teachers, that supplement (rather than supplant) students’  completion of college ready curricula, and lead to workbased certification and college credit.4. Support supplemental programs and partnerships that provide students resources and access to institutions of higher education;

5. Require that all students have fully certified, quality teachers who have theacademic and social competencies to ensure that all students reach their optimal potential.

Affordable Tuition Rates in Higher Education

1. Oppose any measure that restricts or prohibits minority access to needed financial aid and Texas grants that should be fully restored;
2. Support affordable access to higher education by restoring the state regulation of tuition;
3. Oppose any measure that further restricts Texas’ high school graduates access to instate tuition.

Top 10%

Oppose any legislation that would reduce, eliminate or make exceptions to the top 10% rule.

DREAM Act

Oppose any legislation that would challenge students’ access to higher education by modifying or eliminating House Bill 1403.

Bullying

Support enhanced anti-bullying legislation that will mandate that the education administration code include a directive to identify a point of contact for bullying.

Special Education

Support legislation mandating that the parents of special education students who are also limited English proficiency (LEP), be provided all documentation in their native language during the ARD and the development of the student’s IEP.

State Board of Education Reform

Reform the State Board of Education (SBOE) to ensure that the adopted and future TEKS curriculum standards are accurate, comprehensive, in compliance with legislative intent and responsive to community input. Support efforts to include top university experts in the decision making process.

Click on the link to read the entire document; however, be warned–it is pretty progressive and will earn some right-wing opposition. With the Dewhurst-Patrick-Republican ideas of expanding charter schools and school privatization, the battle lines have definitely been drawn between Latinos and Republicans.

Thanks to my good friend, Joe Cardenas, III, for sending this to me and for chairing such an important group of leaders.